DON’T THROW AWAY
Food waste is morally opposed in all cultures. Worldwide, approximately 800 million people suffer from hunger. Nevertheless, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), at the global level, 1.3 billion tons of food per year is wasted. To put that into perspective, that’s about one third of the food produced on the entire planet and more than double what is needed to feed the hungry.
In underdeveloped countries, after food is harvested, large quantities of the product is being wasted due to lack of adequate storage space, poor roads and limited cooling devices. When these countries are compared to developed countries, it is clearly obvious that in the developed countries, more food is wasted from beginning to end in the distribution chain. This happens when traders order, use, or showcase too much food, when consumers ignore the food in the back of their refrigerators, or dispose of perishable goods before the expiry date.
Throwing away food takes its toll on environmental pollution. The production of food that no one eats means wasting water, fertilizers, pesticides, seeds, fuel and land needed for food production. These amounts are not insignificant. Globally, the annual production of uneaten food drains more water than the amount discharged yearly from the Columbia River, which is the largest river in the Pacific Northwest. These startling figures do not even include the losses from farms, ships and slaughterhouses. Wasted food is the third largest producer of waste gases in the world after China and the USA.
FACT: 30% of the yield of tangerines in Huaral, Peru do not meet the standards for export. Most of the discarded fruit is eaten locally, but globally, 46% of fruit and vegetables never arrive from farm to plate. Passing through the supply chain, more fruits and vegetables are lost or thrown away compared to other foods. Susceptible to damage and sensitive to changes in temperature on their way from the farm to the table, compared to other foods, fruits and vegetables are most often thrown away.
EAT THE UGLY: Each year in the USA, 2.5 million pounds of fruit and vegetables remain unharvested or unsold, often for aesthetic reasons. Standardized-looking products that Europe imposes, forced Kenyan farmers to throw away almost half of their harvest in fields or manufacturing plants because they do not fit into the class. For example, on a farm on a weekly basis, 40 tons of beans, broccoli, and peas are thrown away. That’s enough to feed 250,000 people! FACT: In September 2015, the UN pledged to halve food waste by 2030.
WASTE REDUCTION – HOW WE CAN HELP
Developed countries are responsible for most of the food that remains unsold on store shelves, on plates in restaurants in in domestic refrigerators.
- IN STORES:
- Carefully decide what and how much to buy
- Buy fresh food from farmers at local markets
- Buy frozen food that has fewer losses from field to store shelves
- IN RESTAURANTS:
- Take the leftovers home and eat them
- Share side dishes with someone so that the size of the meal is kept under control
- Ask the waiter not to bring add-ons that you do not want to eat (bread, olive, pickles, etc.)
- Encourage restaurants and other caterers to donate their remains to the needy
- AT HOME:
- Use food containers that remind you of the expiration date
- Use smaller bowls to control portion size
- Eat leftovers from the previous day
- Freeze or preserve surplus
- Make smoothies from damaged fruit
- IN THE COMMUNITY:
- Students in schools should learn the basics of cooking, food storage and preservation
- Organize collection and distribution of surplus to people who need help
- Recycle and composte
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